Music Discrimination


Random post tonight but an interesting subject nonetheless. Let’s talk about music ^_^. We all love and need music in our lives; music can cheer us up and it can sometimes set the atmosphere. We have favorites and then we have stuff we don’t listen to. While we usually don’t listen to certain music based on categories/genre but how about the language it is in? A year or so ago, a friend once asked me something along the lines of “why do asians listen to other asian music even if they have no idea what the song is about?” to which I simply answered “music is universal, I don’t care what language it is as long as it is *music* to my ears… and it’s not some guy ‘singing’ about his wealth, 24’s, clubbing, proudly doing drugs/sluts/hoes/degrading the opposite sex, and anything disgustingly vulgar” (now you know what kind of music I’m against). She didn’t understand my answer unfortunately and went on “but you don’t understand it! I don’t ever listen to anything unless I know what the artist is talking about. You don’t see me listening to… spanish, or french or german music and I’m white!”… … “… that’s your loss then” was all I could say at the end ^^;. She goes to claim that it doesn’t matter how “popular” or “good” the song is, if it’s not in English she won’t listen to it and deem it “bad”. Wow xD. I often see people not listening to some music due to style but rarely involving its language. She does have a good point though- why DO Asians generally listen to other Asian music despite we don’t understand the language it is in? ALL the asians I know (friends and foe) listen to at least one other different asian music. I know some of my non-asian friends who listen to songs that aren’t in English (but they’re sorta of the more otaku type ^^;). I stated my reasons (music is universal!) which might or might not apply to others. Asian music also have a certain “style” to it that is influenced by its culture and that part is more important to me than the actual language it is in. I listen mostly to Chinese (both Mando and Canto), Japanese, and Korean with some bits of Spanish and English ^^. I’ll share who I listen to the most some other time.

So questions… do you listen to music that you don’t understand the language of? Do you have a language preference for music? (Do you discriminate based on language?)

Above image is of BoA and here’s her US debut single…

<3 her dancing. BoA with wet hair FTW! ^^;


19 thoughts on “Music Discrimination

  1. It’s pretty simple. The voice is an instrument of music, it’s the most straight forward instrument if you understand the language itself. For other instruments, you would have to concentrate to listen on what exactly the instrument is trying to express through its tempo or tone. That’s what make opera pretty much enjoyable because you can clearly hear the expression of the song.

    Your friend doesn’t appreciate the true sense of music, she is just conforming to her own narrow perspective of ‘music’.

    Personally, I am now listening to jap songs more than chinese or english songs due to anime influence…

  2. Actually, BoA’s US single awfully sucks. Not to mention the video (one of them, where she starts atop of a building).

    And who am I to judge anyone else? I listen from classical up to house music so I’m pretty echletic ^^ or as the mrs says “your taste is a mess”

  3. i listen to all kinds of music. as long as it sounds good to my ears i listen to it whether its hiphop, diff language, country, rnb, etc (you get the idea)

    i agree with Z’s statement that music is universal. who cares if you don’t understand what they are saying, as long as you can relate to it one way or another. its all good ^_^

  4. Of course!
    I listen to any music,,even if the music is instrument only,like classical or even game soundtrack,
    though if i understand the language is better,and i usually like music based of rhytm,sound,not the lyrics,
    but like ya said, music is universal,
    it not listened by ear, but by heart! >_<

  5. That’s like saying people won’t listen to Bach because he wrote his masses in German…[or any other dead composer in whatever language]

  6. Ohh but classical music is definetely one of the best if you want to enjoy the feeling the music gives ^^ When you imagine how many musicians are actually working together to bring a symphony to sound so magnificent!

    btw, my cellphone ringtone is beethoven’s 5th ^^;

  7. I listen to the music that I can’t understand (I’m in minority.. I know) :p
    I’m quite choosy for the lyric. If I can understand the lyric, I want it to be inspirational, otherwise I won’t listen to it.
    It’s better for me to know nothing about the lyric, than listening to the lyric that I don’t like.

  8. Being a huge mecha fans entails that a lot of the music I listen to is in Japanese, even though I’m an English-speaker.

    But if music sounds good, it doesn’t matter what language it’s in. Some of my favorite songs are in Spanish, French, German, Icelandic, and others I probably couldn’t even name. Sometimes, I actually prefer not being able to understand the lyrics; it lets you really concentrate on the quality of the music as opposed to being too focused on the meaning.

  9. Well I am from China but I only listen to Japanese music. My friend plays American bands like Simple Plan and some other ones when I am at his house. They’re ok.

    PS: Just so people know. I don’t like being called “asian”.

  10. I agree with Lobo.

    My Fiancee is Filipino and I listen to a lot of her music even though I speak next to nothing in tagalog. She loves Ahn Jea Wok and doesn’t speak Korean very well, I listen to a LOT of Japanese and my Japanese isn’t that great.

    But a beautiful voice and a beautiful beat are all that is needed for me to enjoy music. Like you said Z, music is universal, and I think its a basic, natural instinct of our species to create, listen, and love it.

    Awesome post buddy!

  11. Since I moved to Canada, I listen so much foreign musics that I don’t even understand. 90% of them are J-Rock & J-Pop, because of anime influence and they just sound very unique to me ^_^
    I don’t care what language are they in as long as they don’t make any religious mockery, hate/gore, and racism.

  12. like u said, music is universal. as long as music is pleasing to the ears, i will listen to any type or kind of music. language doesn’t matter to me.

  13. race, language, genre doesn’t matter to me. I just listen to whatever sounds good.

    and lawl!! seems like you took an interest to this song eh z? xD

  14. hmm… just noticed that i forgot to insert the poll to this post. Oh well… Great to see most of you share the “music is universal” sentiment with me ^^;

    loba, I’m the same with you on the anime influence but I need my fill of Chinese music as well :)

    Paulo, I love classical music too! I remembered I was the only one in fine arts who appreciated the symphony concert the class attended. LIVE music with real instruments are real music. I like to listen to the more soft, melodic and serene classical pieces. Like Canon in D Major :D.

    Francis, I hear ya! so what do you mainly listen to daily?

    Lelangir, Yes… it’s very narrow-minded ^^;

    Eyeshield, true true… we listen to music with our heart alright! that’s how we feel it! ^^;

    Neosonic, I can sorta relate to you on not wanting to understand the lyrics part… figuring that out sometimes might lead to ruining the song for you if the subject and meaning of the song is very different than what you thought it to be ^^; (can’t think of any examples but remembered had that happened to me for a few songs).

    Flawless Blade, you don’t even listen to Chinese music? ^^; I don’t like being called “Asian” when the context groups me with the rest of the Asian race but I let it slide with non-asians (we often just call them “white”, “black” or whatever so it equals out ^^;).

    Aptkane, that’s the way to go ^^. Simply just enjoy it!

    Rady, agree with you on the relgious mockery, hate/gore, and racism part with music. Music shouldn’t incite hate.

    Chun, don’t worry Chun! You’re way ahead of schedule so take all the time you want. no rush no rush ^^;

    Btang48, awesome ^^

    Lilboi, it was catchy while it was not played out by me…

  15. i listen to english, spanish, latin, norwegian, japanese, korean, and a little bit of cantonese and chinese. Totally different from your friend, i would prefer not to understand what the vocalist sings so that i could concentrate more on the vocals and instruments rather than the lyrics itself. But same as you, i totally dislike those clubbing, vulgar music.

    About BoA, i started to listen to her 7 years ago. For me, now she’s getting faded… I still prefer her listen to my heart – outgrow period.

  16. Back at uni, my poetry professor Cirilo F. Bautista asserted the music is the most universal among the artforms, precisely because it requires no intelligence nor understanding to appreciate its beauty.

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